Lord of the Flies Quotes
by William Golding

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“The shell was interesting and pretty and a worthy plaything.”

This quote is from chapter 1 in Lord of the Flies.

Though the conch evolves into an object of reverence and a symbol of democratic society, it begins as nothing more than a “worthy plaything” for Ralph. Despite Piggy’s attempts to convey the value and function of the shell, Ralph has no grander intentions than to satisfy his immediate curiosity. The initial blowing of the conch is done with the same irreverence, with several minutes spent using it to make “farting noises.” The conch begins as a game for Ralph, and he is so wrapped up in “the violent pleasure of making this stupendous noise” that he does not care when Piggy tells him the names of the arriving boys.

Though Ralph is credited with natural leadership qualities throughout the novel, his actual ascension to leadership is to a large extent due to his initial possession of the conch. The conch elevates him from ordinary child into leader, and “his ordinary voice sounded like a whisper after the harsh note of the conch.” Ralph’s “ordinary” self, which exalts in the simple pleasures of being a child free of adult supervision for the first time, becomes a “whisper” in the face of the responsibility thrust upon him by the conch. 

“The boy who controlled them was dressed in the same way though his cap badge was golden.”

This quote is from chapter 1 in Lord of the Flies.

The introduction of Jack portrays him as “the boy who controlled [the choir],” foregrounding his desire for power and ability to lead. His “golden” badge singles him out as a leader and emphasizes his taste for hierarchy. Jack immediately asks where “the man with the trumpet” is, only to be told that there is no ship and that Ralph was the one who made the noise.

Aside from Piggy, Jack is the first person to question Ralph’s authority, finding the “fair-haired boy with the creamy shell” unimpressive. Jack forces the choir boys to march in their uniforms, despite the heat and obvious physical strain. However, Jack’s desire to maintain social structure and stratification quickly dissolve once it becomes clear that there are no adults on the island.

“Eyes shining, mouths open, triumphant, they savored the right of domination.”

This quote is from chapter 1 in Lord of the Flies.

As the boys explore the island, they claim ownership of it, savoring the “right of domination” as their culture has done for centuries. The boys feels entitled to the land, and Jack’s later obsession with hunting pigs is symptomatic of his entitlement. As adolescent boys, none of the boys stranded on the island would have held power in the civilized world. However, this quote illustrates Golding's assertion that the desire for power and the inclination towards “domination” exist in everyone and will emerge if given the opportunity.

“They looked at each other, baffled, in love and hate.”

“They walked along, two continents of experience and feeling,...

(The entire section is 1,744 words.)